ArtReview sent a questionnaire to a selection of the artists exhibiting in various national pavilions of the Venice Biennale, the responses to which will be published over the coming days. Ali Kazma will represent Turkey. The pavilion is at the Arsenale.
What can you tell us about your plans for Venice?
I am working on a new video series with the title Resistance. There will be around fifteen videos exploring the limits and experiences of the contemporary body – they will all question the extent and the possibility to which the body can forge a unique and authentic relationship with the world.
Are you approaching the show in a different way to how you would with a ‘normal’ exhibition?
Inclusion in the Venice Biennial has made it possible for me to stop all other activities – other shows, travelling, talks – and concentrate solely on the making of the work in the last eight months. In this way, I feel once again like a student preparing a thesis; reading, shooting, editing. I realize that I have missed this kind of intense, unbroken production.
What does it mean to ‘represent’ your country? Do you find it an honour or problematic?
I believe being born in one place, and not another is a kind of destiny you have to acknowledge and respond to individually, just as you have to acknowledge being born one time and not another. One can choose to respond by discarding where one was was born and raised, but first one has to acknowledge it, face it. Of course, nobody can or should claim that they can represent a whole country. An individual's work is always one possibility among many.
What audience are you addressing with the work? The masses of artist peers, gallerists, curators and critics concentrated around the opening or the general public who come through over the following months?
I believe that for most artistic production, it would be detrimental to think of an audience. I believe we should be very careful not to use terminology borrowed from PR, advertising and marketing strategists such as ‘target audience’. I constantly push myself to my limits in my work and while trying to navigate that difficult and uncertain terrain, the idea that you are making work for someone else simply does not exist. That would be too cynical. I also believe that only through this constant push and care can you hope to find some of your kin in the audience.
What are your earliest or best memories of the biennale?
It will be my first one. I very rarely travel to see shows.
You’ll no doubt be very busy, but what else are you looking forward to seeing?
I am looking forward to seeing The Encyclopedic Palace by Massimiliano Gioni. Anything linked with encyclopedias is very dear to me.